This past weekend I drove home to celebrate my mom’s birthday. We had planned on going to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, so I brought along an Olympus OM-D E-M5 with two Panasonic lenses, the Lumix G X Vario 35-100 and the Lumix G Vario 100-300, to cover the entire focal range that I expected I would need at the zoo. Both the camera and the lenses were perfect for the zoo: the focal range I needed without the bulk of a DSLR and a huge DSLR telephoto lens. Plus, I thought it was cool that I could put Panasonic lenses on an Olympus body, all thanks to the flexibility and communicability between micro four-thirds systems and lenses across brands.
Unfortunately, my family’s plans for a nice day at the zoo were thwarted by rain. (Instead, we went to see Gravity in 3D, so no complaints here.)
I was not going to be discouraged. While I was looking forward to the zoo, there was plenty for me to shoot in my old neighborhood. This weekend was the peak for this fall’s colors, and I wanted to make sure I captured some images of the foliage before the branches became bare and the winter whitewashed everything.
As a kid, I was always fascinated by the power lines that ran along the perimeter of my neighborhood. I saw them every day, every time I stepped outside, every time I rode the bus to school. They were very much a major landmark in my cognitive map, and still are. The way the power lines seemed to span off into infinity, decking the ceiling of the sky, was always very evocative to me for some reason. So I figured, since I had a camera on me and was eager to capture some images, why not try to get some good shots of the power lines surrounded by bursts of colors from the trees?
My mom and I took a stroll through the neighborhood Sunday morning, marveling at the colors and the suburban calm. I told my mom a little about the camera and lenses I was using, but mostly I just enjoyed the walk and the company. My original plan had been to shoot the power lines at the front of our development, but we decided instead to take an alternate route, cutting behind our development to another, where we found an awesome view of the power lines and the surrounding trees.
I thought the OM-D E-M5 performed really well. The electronic viewfinder had an incredible refresh rate and previewed the exposure when locking focus, which was very helpful as it was around 9:00 AM and the sun was already pretty high. This made managing the highlights my biggest challenge, though the fall-off was a beautiful golden hue.
The coolest aspect of this shoot for me was how the Panasonic lenses communicated perfectly with the Olympus camera. The autofocus was as fast as ever, and the lenses’ feathery weights (compared to DSLR lenses with comparable focal ranges) meant I didn’t even need to schlep a tripod with me. I was able to capture images with a wide angle or with a close crop, which was perfect for the setting I was in.
Overall, I was very impressed with the OM-D E-M5 and had a very enjoyable time shooting with it. I didn’t even need a camera strap, my system was that lightweight and easy to carry. But mostly I was happy I got to spend a quiet morning with my mom, an all-too-rare occasion anymore, photographing a subject I’d been wanting to photograph for seventeen years.